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Finding the Fountain of Youth: Meet the Startups Pioneering Longevity Solutions

fountain of youth
Image credit: The Fountain of Youth, 1546 painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder; Wikipedia, unknown source

If technology allowed humanity to live forever in the future, would you take the ticket? We asked our readers recently and were surprised to see the balance tilt towards “No” (60% of respondents). One answer was hidden in a comment from one of our readers – they would want to live forever, yet only if they stayed young. Among others, living long worries people as it is associated with getting old and suffering from various diseases. 

Yet if technology allows us to extend our life spans it will also likely improve our health spans. According to demographers, children today have a better chance of living up to 100 years old than ever before. But their lives won’t be just longer, they will also benefit from day-to-day technological advances aimed at improving their well-being, preventing diseases, and keeping their minds and bodies in shape.

Slowing aging presents an economic opportunity, too. In the US, an estimate shows that just one to two years increase in life expectancy are worth between $7 trillion and $38 trillion. The nascent longevity and anti-aging industry is set to reach $64 billion by 2026 from $44 billion in 2020. 

Startups are at the forefront of the search for immortality, with a wide range of solutions to hack aging mechanisms in humans and their pets, from cellular rejuvenation programming and gene therapy, to anti-aging drugs (also known as regenerative medicine), biomarkers, or cryopreservation.

Read on for an overview of some of the most noteworthy and promising longevity startups in Europe. If you see a company missing, message us at [email protected]

 

Longevity startups in Europe

Altos Labs

Headquarters: offices in San Francisco, California, US, and Cambridge, UK

Founders: Jeff Bezos, Yuri Milner

Type of solution: Cellular rejuvenation programming

Funding: $3 billion

Stage: Series A

About: Arguably the most famous solution in the space, Altos is the mind product of two billionaires who wanted to stay billionaires for longer. It was founded in 2021 and focuses on cellular rejuvenation programming aimed at restoring cell health, reversing disease and making the body more resilient. The company gathers together a community of leading clinicians, scientists, academics, and industry experts, such as Shinya Yamanaka, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for successfully performing cellular reprogramming in mammalian cells.

Read more:  Romanian Softbinator Technologies acquired WiseUp after raising €1.2M via private funding and eyes more M&As in 2022

 

BioSplice Therapeutics

Headquarters: San Diego, California, US

Founders: Turkish American billionaire Osman Kibar

Type of solution: Alternative splicing

Funding: $778 million

Stage: Series B

About: BioSplice (formerly Samumed) was launched in 2008 by Turkish-American billionaire Osman Kibar, who also invented a cancer diagnosis system that was acquired by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis. BioSplice works on developing the research and science for therapeutic modulation of alternative splicing. Alternative splicing is a cellular process whereby genes create different combinations of protein, which lets the body have a complex set of protein available for structural and immune functions. Biosplice leverages the potential of alternative splicing modulation in musculoskeletal diseases, immunology, and oncology.

 

GenFlow Biosciences

Headquarters: London, UK

Founders: Eric Leire

Type of solution: Gene therapy

Stage: Listed on the London Stock Exchange

About: GenFlow Biosciences’ approach to slow or potentially halt the aging process in humans, as well as dogs, is based on gene therapy. The company is developing and commercializing therapeutics that can lengthen the healthspan by reversing the aging process. They are currently running a clinical trial for their lead compound to treat Werner syndrome, a heritable human premature aging disease.

 

GlycanAge

Headquarters: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, with Croatian co-founder and team

Founders: Nikolina Lauc

Type of solution: Biological age testing

Funding: $500K 

Stage: Seed

About: GlycanAge has developed proprietary technology for blood testing that analyzes your glycobiology in order to measure one’s biological age, but also chronic low grade systemic inflammation. The test can be taken by consumers at home, using 4 drops of blood, before sending it to the lab for analysis. In turn, results can be used to understand and advise on lifestyle changes that can improve one’s health.

 

Humanity

Headquarters: Boston, US, with offices and team in London, UK

Founders: Michael D. Geer, Peter Ward

Type of solution: Biomarkers

Funding: $5 million

Read more:  13 CEE Startups That Support Us To Work From Anywhere

Stage: Seed

About: Humanity has developed an app that helps consumers track aging biomarkers from connected wearable devices and provides personalized action points to slow the aging process and risk of disease. The company recently added a nutrition tracking component. They offer a consumer subscription service.

 

Juvenescence

Headquarters: Dublin, IrelandFounders: Dr. Greg Bailey, MD, Jim Mellon, Dr. Dec Doogan, MD

Type of solution: Anti-aging drugs, Cellular rejuvenation reprogramming, Inflammation reversal, Aging heart and brain improvement

Funding: ~$220 million

Stage: Series C

About: Juvenescence works at the forefront of disruptive pharmaceuticals and therapies that can stop, slow, or reverse the aging process. They have created an integrated aging model that includes multiple solutions. Their main product is a metabolic health medicine containing ketones, byproducts of the breakdown of fatty acids that our body normally creates during starvation or fasting. 

 

Nuritas

Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland

Founders: Dr. Nora K.

Type of solution: Anti-aging drugs

Funding: $75 billion

Stage: Series B

About: Nuritas uses AI technology to develop a new category of precision, cell-signaling peptide ingredients from nature. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that you can find in food. With AI, the company discovers bioactive peptides with different health benefits, including for muscles, anti-inflammation, skin care, or gut health. 

 

Rejuvenate Biomed

Headquarters: Diepenbeek, Belgium

Founders: Ann Belien, PhD

Type of solution: Anti-aging drugs

Funding: ~$21 million

Stage: Series B

About: Rejuvenate Biomed develops novel combinations of drugs that can treat age-related diseases. With their AI screen platform, they evaluate new combinations of treatments that can help maintain natural cellular resistance. With their latest funding, the company is working on the  clinical development of its lead drug candidate for treating sarcopenia, an age-related disease that causes loss of muscle strength, quality, and mass.

 

Tomorrow Biostasis

Headquarters: Berlin, Germany

Founders: Dr. Emil Kendziorra, Fernando Azevedo Pinheiro

Read more:  20 Exited Founders and What They’re Doing Now

Type of solution: Cryopreservation

Funding: Undisclosed seed round

About: Tomorrow Biostasis, as the name suggests, specializes in cryopreservation, an advanced medical procedure where a person is entered into a complete biological pause  (biostasis) after their legal death. Cryopreservation assumes potential future technologies that can revive us. The company offers complete services, including on-site cryoprotection and indefinite long-term care (storage) at a facility in Switzerland.

 

TreeFrog Therapeutics

Headquarters: Pessac, Nouvelle-Aquitain, France

Founders: Maxime Feyeux, Kévin Alessandri

Type of solution: Stem cell-based therapy

Funding: $83 million

Stage: Series B

About: TreeFrog Therapeutics has a proprietary C-Stem technology and is developing a pipeline of cell-based therapies in the field of neurodegeneration, cardio-metabolic disorders, and immuno-oncology. They also focus on enabling scalable manufacturing of induced pluripotent stem cells to meet demand in terms of cell volume, lead time, safety, and cost.

 

While you’re on the topic, check out our mapping of healthcare gadgets from Southeast Europe.

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https://therecursive.com/author/antoanelaionita/

Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.